Dear Turing, I Have a Test For You

After reading his 1950 article, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", I decided to write Alan Turing a letter asking him what to do when the roles have been switched and it is AI putting us to the test.

Dear Turing, I Have a Test For You
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Dear Alan Turing,

It’s been 73 years since you wrote your seminal article, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, and guess what - you were right!

In 1950, you predicted that “machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields”, and that’s exactly what happened. Today, people are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence and entire industries are being redefined to deliver on digital technology's promise of unprecedented productivity.

When you compared the development of intelligent machines with evolution, you said; “The survival of the fittest is a slow method for measuring advantages. The experimenter, by the exercise of intelligence, should be able to speed it up.”

And speed certainly has been a defining feature of the development - and result - of digital technology over the past decades. In fact, it's been going so fast lately that even your most intelligent successors are struggling to keep up.

So, I’m writing to ask for your help. We don’t seem to know what we’re dealing with, but you do. After all, it was you who conceived and raised what you called a "child machine", but which we have come to know as a fully grown omnipresent competitor, colleague, and companion in even the most intimate parts of life.

Why and how did you raise AI to think? What were your assumptions about what is and isn’t important when simulating intelligence? Did you picture humans and AI working together? And how did you imagine work and responsibilities would be divided between us and the machines?

I was happy to find the answers to most of these questions in your 73-year-old article. And the questions you didn’t answer, I believe we can answer together.

Read the full letter here: Dear Turing, I Have a Test For You.

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